In Austin, Texas there are people who travel hundreds and hundreds of miles to line up at 8 o’clock in the morning, when it’s 104 degrees in the shade, to wait for Franklin Barbecue to open its doors at 11:00am sharp. Aaron Franklin is the pit master and revered by the BBQgentsia and food critics alike. There are countless articles detailing his style and process. You can find some here and here, and here. I hung around his restaurant all day talking to folks and hoping to talk to Aaron— not about what he does but why he does it. This man wakes up at 1:50am 6 days a week regularly pulling 18 hour days. He sits in front of smoking meat in the middle of the night, downing espresso, more than 300 days of the year. It was exhausting just watching him during regular business hours. I followed Sam Boyar through his Franklin Barbecue experience, documented here 1 2 3, and found what was true for Sam was true for all of the others I met. They were good people who knew good food. And, they were having a good time. It was heartbreaking to watch those approach the front door only to find the “sold out” sign. But, well, they should’ve been in line early. Aaron sat down with me at the end of his day, drank a much deserved cold beer, and told me what he likes about what he does. He graciously saved a couple of ribs for me and I can promise if you’re lucky or dedicated enough to have one, it’s the most intense foodgasm you’ll ever have.
And, for those interested in starting your own business for the first time I asked Aaron if he has any suggestions. Here’s his take:
WHY AARON LIKES AUSTIN: “Austin is a great place that’s really supportive of the arts, good food, and good music.” “This is a good place for people to do what they really want to do. There’s something special about Austin. There still an old-school Austin mentality that supports that kind of thing.”
WHAT WOULD MAKE AARON HAPPY: More sleep.
You can watch Aaron on BBQ Pitmasters on Destination America.